In August 2013, the University of Maine at Machias received a 2-yr, $630,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct applied research on both Blue mussels, Mytilus edulis, and Arctic surfclams, Mactromeris polynyma. DEI is a collaborating entity in the project, along with the [...]
– Research –
DEI is examining methods to expand production of cultured Blue mussels by addressing the barrier to increased farmed mussel production in the northeast — seed production.
By improving hatchery production of juvenile mussels, DEI can provide reliable, cultured seed to growers who otherwise have had to rely on capturing wild seed each year and are now limited to growing one mussel crop per year. The problem with relying on wild seed is that it is hard to predict when and where mussel recruitment will occur each year, and the amount it will occur in. If growers do not have to wait for wild spat to settle on their ropes, they can grow more than one crop per year.
DEI’s current research involves the following major components:
- Developing hatchery techniques (broodstock conditioning and cryopreservation) that enable the production of mussels throughout the year: Cryopreservation is a method used for more cost efficient hatchery production of shellfish, but no cryopreservation methods currently exist for Blue mussels. DEI is developing protocols for both broodstock conditioning and cryopreserving mussel gametes and larvae.
- Testing different types of mussel settlement substrates in the hatchery and field: Mussels use bissel threads to anchor to substrates, which is why mussel farmers often grow them using suspension and ropes. DEI is testing different types of rope to determine which is best to grow mussels on.
- Examining the effectiveness of “remote setting” technology: In addition to hatchery settling tests, DEI is conducting “remote-setting” trials at two mussel farms to determine if this technique for settling mussels onto ropes could be viable alternative to hatchery settling in order to cut costs for mussel farmers.
- Growing multiple cohorts per year: DEI delivered hatchery set ropes to three mussel farms three times during the spring and summer to test if farms would benefit from the opportunity to raise more than one cohort (crop) per year.
Learn more about DEI’s previous mussel research projects: